Tag Archives: Twitter

Cheese Or Font?

Let us take pause for just one moment. I have been introduced (via @Twitter) to what may possibly be the best game ever invented. Better than Scrabble. Better than Cranium. Better than Taboo. Even better than Trivial Pursuit 80’s Edition, a game at which I excel and totally love.

This gem of a website is aptly entitled “Cheese or Font“. “Cheese or Font” provides a word  — a word you probably don’t know unless you are a true cheese geek or font geek like me — and you are to guess whether it is a cheese or a font. Duh, Captain Obvious. Anyway, it immediately tells you whether you are “Correct”, while telling you how many losers got it wrong, or it tells you that you are “Incorrect”, although I don’t know what that page displays since I have, ahem, not yet been classified in that category. 😉  Finally, a game where I win (almost) every. single. time. This is truly like manna from heaven.  Oh, how I heart you, dear interwebs.

In other news, I may or may not have to marry my new pillow (minus, of course, the one that is as ridiculously tall as the bed of the Princess and the Pea, which is being promptly returned), as I may or may not have mercifully slept more than four hours last night for the first time in more than two weeks. Developing…..

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HoHoTo

hohoto 009What do you get when you cross do-gooding geeks of Toronto with the ubiquitous power of Twitter? Why, you get @hohoto, natch!

Hohoto was an idea conceived last December when a group of brain trusts from the technology, marketing and visual thinking communities in Toronto got together and decided to throw a party and, oh, raise some money for the needy while they were at it.  Hohoto was organized and promoted almost exclusively on Twitter for the Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto’s organization de rigeur whose aim is to feed hungry people across the GTA.  The hohoto organizers sold more than 600 tickets, rallied over 60 sponsors, and actually planned the event within 13 days.  All told, they raised $25,000 for the food bank — all utilizing Twitter and all in less than two weeks.  Not too shabby…not too shabby at all.

Over the summer, the group decided they’d have a second hohoto event, but this time as a “Christmas in July” event, which turned out to be in August.  I started seeing tweets with the #hohoto hashtag a couple of weeks before the event and wanted to be part of the magic.  I reached out to the “camp leader” to ask if I could help and was welcomed with open arms. Planning was in full force and once again, the Toronto geek community jumped at the chance to share knowledge and help the needy. hohoto 16

On August 18, more than 500 people from across the GTA gathered at Wetbar in the Entertainment District for some Hohoto goodness.  Some of the creative things that were done incldued being able to “tweet” song requests to the resident DJs; a raffle with everything from sports paraphernalia to gourmet cakes from Cake or Death; a “photobooth” by Rannie Turnigan of photojunkie.ca fame (see photo of me on this post — clearly taken by a professional photographer as I *never* normally look that good. See? Hohoto even makes you glow.); $15 chair massages; a cotton candy (candy floss in Canada) stand run by RogersHelps; and best of all, the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of Toronto geeks. We ended up raising over $12,000 at the summer event, and in addition to the $25K raised in December, contributed more than $35,000 in less than a year to help end hunger in Toronto. All on Twitter. And all done in just a few weeks.  Pretty amazing what people can do when they set out to do some good.

Aprés Hohoto, we had a few items left from the raffle, so the geniuses that run this shindig came up with the idea of having an eBay-style auction on Twitter. So two days later, in the midst of a wicked bad thunderstorm, we held what I believe is one of the few Twitter auctions to date!  I was an “auctioneer” and let me just say that I have a new found respect for *real* auctioneers — that was hard and fast work! Anyone who wanted to bid would send a tweet with #hohoto, the lot number and their bid. I was responsible for managing all the bids, posting them back on Twitter so people would know where the bids were, and responding to DMs since we allowed people to bid privately!  it was the most I’ve ever tweeted at once (um, obviously!) and the most exhausted I’ve been in the span of a single hour.  We ended up raising another $650 for the food bank!

hohto spezifyThere was a tremendous amount of goodwill and support for Hohoto and I felt privileged to not only be part of the madness, but to get to work so closely with such dynamic, smart, incredible people.  We received quite a bit of press, and a group in Vancouver wants to have Hohoto-style event they’ve called Ghoulash Bash for their food bank.  They’ve contacted our team for help and are already going around saying they’re going to surpass our $25K, but as per usual, Toronto will reign supreme. I know it will hurt, but they can handle it. 😉

Check out the Hohoto Flickr group for some Hohoto eye candy, too. And, read an awesome recap from the Village Gamer here.

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Something Akin to Writer’s Block

Sadly, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything to my blog.  Let’s just chalk up my absence to serious suffering from something related to writer’s block.  You know, like when you stare at your blinking cursor for two hours, fiddling with fonts and suchlike, and rewriting the same paragraph over and over again ten times in a row?  Regardless of how I try to arrange and rearrange the predicates, I still find myself giving my paragraphs the same disapproving look I typically reserve for people who have cars hoisted up on cement blocks in their front yard.

Sigh.

I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, a present before I go.  Even when I’m not writing here, my musings on my Twitter stream are a direct reflection of whatever “interesting drivel” happens to be ruminating around in my noggin.   Today, it happens to be the lasting effect of Conjunction Junction , and other School House Rocks shorts, in the “is Twitter (or the world in fewer than 140-characters) making us stupid” universe and why I have yet to incorporate the German word “Backpfeifengesicht” (and other cool foreign words) into my vocabulary. 

Just some food for thought.  Well, my own food for thought, anyway.

You can thank me later. 🙂

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Caution: May Inspire Kindness

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Photo courtesy of DailyChallenge.com

A few weeks ago, I started seeing tweets of monolithic proportions with the hash tag #pibTO.  (For my friends who aren’t familiar with either Twitter or hash tag  <gasp> — you know who you are — look it up!).  Pay It Backward Toronto, or #pibTO in Twitter speak, was an event being put on by Daily Challenge, a local social network for do-gooders.  The idea was to show up at Second Cup on Queen and John Streets and buy a drink for the person – wait for it – in line behind you!  The best part?  100% of the proceeds would benefit Sick Kids Hospital.  All kinds of goodness!

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Photo courtesy of DailyChallenge.com

What is Pay It Backward day, you ask?  On an early Wednesday morning in December 2007, a woman (natch) at a Starbucks’ drive-thru in Seattle offered to buy the drink for the customer in line behind her, leaving with it just a simple wish of “happy holidays”.  From this first random act of kindness at 8:00am on Wednesday began a chain of 489 more until 8:00am the next morning.  Stranger after stranger did their part to spread the kindness in the drive-thru and the lobby. Together, they set the unofficial “Pay It Backward” world record of 490 acts of kindness done within a 24 hour period. 

Fast forward to April 4, 2009.  The Daily Challenge team, with help from Toronto’s social media world, decided that our fair city could easily break that record. 

Toronto had torrential downpours the night before the event – as a matter of fact, we broke a 60 year-old rain record — and after the downpour came 70 km/h winds.  I thought no way are people going to go.  But at around 2pm when I finally made it to Second Cup, 244 other people had already shown.  Sweet! The buzz in the air was palpable.  I signed up for my number, got in line, chatted with the people around me, got a medium Earl Grey tea from the very kind person in front of me, bought the very kind person behind me a medium coffee, chatted with my fellow Twits, gave props to the organizers and headed off. 

pay-it-backward-toronto-0062When I happened by about two hours later, the #pibTO line was even longer and everyone was anticipating that the record was about to be broken.  I was at home about 20 minutes later and saw “the” tweet — Toronto had done it!  We had officially crossed the 600 person mark and had broken the world-record for coffee acts of kindness.  Awesome!

I’m so damn proud to have been part of something as cool as Pay It Backward day!  Not only did I get to buy something for a complete stranger – which I realized I’d never actually done before – but got to do something that would greatly benefit an amazing organization like Sick Kids Hospital.   

Everyone knows how much I’m in love with Toronto.  The spirit in this city is absolutely unyielding.  Its oft-mocked moniker of “Toronto the Good” may make some people cringe, but in my opinion, it’s never been more apt than this weekend.  Swoon! 

See the rest of my photos from Pay It Backward Toronto here.

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Filed under Canada, Coffee Break, do-gooder